Energy & the Law

A Harsh Result From a Lopsided Indemnity Agreement

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. Wagner v. Exxon Mobil Corporation is an example of the misfortune that can befall the purchaser who assumes the burden of comprehensive, one-sided indemnity obligations. We will disregard evidentiary and other issues in this case and will focus on indemnity.

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Louisiana Environmental Citizen Suit Survives Exceptions

Energy & the Law

The Kingfish would be proud of the Louisiana Supreme Court in Louisiana Ex Rel Tureau v. BEPCO, L.P. et al. The issues were the prescriptive period applicable to a citizen suit for injunctive relief under R.S. 30:16 and whether the petition stated a cause of action under R.S. 30:14 and 30:16.

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A Texas Fight Over Competing Leases

Energy & the Law

Let’s proceed directly to the takeaways from Fort Apache Energy, Inc. Short OG III, Ltd., et al , a Southern District of Texas bankruptcy court opinion. The other guy’s operations will not extend your lease beyond the primary term.

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Exxon’s Attempt to Create New Sale/Lease Tax Law Fails

Energy & the Law

Co-author David Gair. The principal contention in the tax refund case of Exxon v. United States was whether certain mineral related transactions between Exxon and the countries of Qatar and Malaysia were sales or leases. Originally Exxon treated the transactions as leases on its tax returns.

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Shaping a Resilient Future: Climate Impact on Vulnerable Populations

Speaker: Laurie Schoeman Director, Climate & Sustainability, Capital

During this event, national climate and housing expert Laurie Schoeman will discuss topics including relocation, decarbonization, housing affordability, disparities in climate risks, and the health impacts of climate change.

Louisiana Coastal Zone Suit Returns to State Court

Energy & the Law

Plaquemines Parish, et al v. Chevron et al has characteristics of the many pending climate-change suits brought by governments in state courts against Big Oil, which Big Oil tries to remove federal court.

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More Climate News You Don’t Often Hear

Energy & the Law

Its time again to report on climate-related news from a perspective other than the alarmists. I’ll leave it to those who know more than I. First, have you wondered why all the news your Google search finds seems to spell climate D-O-O-M?

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City of Dallas Owes $33+ Million for Drilling Permit Denials

Energy & the Law

Co-author Trevor Lawhorn. If you have ever wondered how many ways a cocktail of stupidity*, treachery and feckless government can inflict financial harm on the undeserving, including the citizens the feckless government leaders are supposed to serve, see City of Dallas v. Trinity E. Energy, LLC.

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Pipeline Prevails Over Governmental Entity in Condemnation Dispute

Energy & the Law

Author Ethan Wood. A pipeline company condemning property of a governmental entity? That’s something you don’t see every day. Score a win for “big pipe” against “big government”. In Harris County Fresh Water Supply District No.

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Louisiana Legacy Lawsuit Survives Motion to Dismiss

Energy & the Law

Withrow v. Chevron is another Louisiana legacy lawsuit, this one claiming that defendants Chevron and Vernon E. Faulconer, Inc.,

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Climate Change Lawsuits Plague Oil and Gas Producers

Energy & the Law

A special thanks to Derek Younkers, a soon-to-be 1L at Baylor Law School, who gathered the material for this post. Those with even a passing acquaintance with the Old Testament know that when the Good Book talks pestilence and destruction, its go-to is a horde of locusts.

Sustainability at Retail

As part of a global Sustainability at Retail initiative, Shop! worked collaboratively with its global affiliates to address critical environmental issues, outlined in this white paper.

Texas Correction Deed Statute Revisited

Energy & the Law

Those who continue to be horrified by Broadway National Bank, Trustee v. Yates Energy Corp. should be relieved that the result in Endeavor Energy Resources, LP v. Anderson was more equitable.

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Texas Court Addresses MSA Indemnity Obligations

Energy & the Law

At issue in RKI Exploration and Production LLC v. AmeriFlow Energy Services LLC and Crescent Services, LLC. were two Master Service Agreements. RKI was the operator of a well in Loving County; AmeriFlow and Crescent were contractors.

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Court Finds Declaratory Judgment Action, Not Trespass to Try Title

Energy & the Law

Co-author Trevor Lawhorn. SM Energy Co. Union Pac. considers a question frequently asked in Texas suits affecting title: When is a suit a trespass to try title action and not a declaratory judgment action? The dispute.

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Exculpatory Clause Does Not Save Operator From Liability

Energy & the Law

Co-author Trevor Lawhorn. Non-operators under the 1989 Model Form JOA have been hoping to drive a stake through the dark heart of Reeder v. Wood County Energy, LLC. Bachtell Enterprises, LLC v. Ankor E&P Holdings Corp might be a start. The question was whether the Article V.A.

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Were the Mineral Deeds a Gift or a Sale? It Made a Difference.

Energy & the Law

Co-author Carolina Cuppitelli*. The question presented in Aaron v. Fisher et al : Did mineral deeds bestow separate property upon the grantees by gift, or did they convey a community property interest to the grantees and their spouses by sale for consideration? Why was the question important?

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Texas Supreme Court Reverses Judgment Because of Lack of Written Notice

Energy & the Law

If you administer or advise on master service agreements, or for that matter any other contract that requires written notice, this post by my Gray Reed partner Joe Virene is essential reading: Texas Supreme Court: Actual Notice Does Not Satisfy Written Notice Requirement.

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Royalty Obligations on Free-Use Gas Redux

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. Recall our recent post on Carl v. Hilcorp Energy Company from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas discussing the lessee’s royalty obligations on gas used off the premises in a market-value lease. See now, Fitzgerald v.

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California Climate Change Suit Returns to State Court

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. In City of San Mateo, et al v. Chevron Corporation, et al , six California jurisdictions sued 13 energy company defendants for global warming-related claims.

No Off-Lease Gas Use Recovery For Royalty Owners

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. The question is presented again but in a different format: In Texas is a lessee allowed to deduct post-production costs (PPC’s) from the lessor’s gas royalty? In Carl v. Hilcorp , the answer was “yes” based on the language in the oil and gas lease at issue.

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Landowners Vanquished by the Discovery Rule

Energy & the Law

Co-author Jamie Mills*. Is it worth spending extra dollars, days, and windshield time to discover what mischief your oil and gas operator might be making on your property? The landowner-plaintiffs in Mustafa v. Americo Energy would certainly say so.

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Clause to Protect Against Drainage in a Mineral Lease Deemed Ambiguous

Energy & the Law

Co-author Carolina Cuppetilli*. Today we will skip our usual routine of explaining how court rulings on the question of the day might affect your interests. Instead we will discuss the fallout from abysmal document drafting. In Rosetta Resources Operating v.

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Lease Perpetuated Beyond Primary Term Without Production in Paying Quantities

Energy & the Law

Co-author David Leonard. If perpetuation of a mineral lease beyond the primary term is contingent upon continuous operations, do traditional notions of “production in paying quantities” always matter? Spoiler: No. In Thistle Creek Ranch, LLC v.

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Texas Mineral Deed Signed Away Right to Sue

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. The question in litigation is usually “WHAT”: what happened, what contract was breached, what did someone do or fail to do, and so on. In Hughes v. CJM Resources, LP , the question was, “WHO” had the right to file the suit in the first place?

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Most-Favored-Nations Clause Costs Lessee

Energy & the Law

Co-author Julia Edwards. This “most-favored-nations” clause in three oil and gas leases on land in LaSalle County, Texas, was at issue in EP Energy E&P Co., Storey Minerals, Ltd.:

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Well Operator Escapes Liability After Disposing of its Working Interest

Energy & the Law

Co-author Justin Cowan. Does a former working-interest owner of a well bear continuing responsibility for a defective gas line despite having conveyed its ownership interest? The line was constructed by the former owner as operator of record, and it received a fee as operator.

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The Meaning of “Subject To” in a Deed

Energy & the Law

Co-author Max Brown. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. International Development Corporation resolved the question, In a 100 year old Pennsylvania deed is a “subject to” provision an exception to a grant or a warranty disclaimer?

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Operator Escapes Liability For a Gas Kick and Resulting Fire

Energy & the Law

Co-author Darien Harris.

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Ohio Landowners Burdened with Post-Production Costs

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. Zehentbauer Family Land, LP v. TotalEnergies E&P USA, Inc.

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Louisiana Unit Operators May Deduct Post-Production Costs from Unleased Mineral Owners

Energy & the Law

The question with wide-ranging implications for Louisiana operators and mineral owners in Johnson et al. Chesapeake Louisiana LP et al is whether unleased mineral owners in a drilling unit established by the Commissioner of Conservation must bear their proportionate share of post-production costs.

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Louisiana Operator Slapped by Appellate Court

Energy & the Law

Author Ethan Wood. Louisiana’s compulsory pooling scheme seeks to balance the interests of individual landowners and oil and gas operators to promote responsible development of natural resources.

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North Dakota Supreme Court to Hear Case on Pore Space Rights

Energy & the Law

photo Co-author Brittany Blakey. Updated] The North Dakota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Thursday to consider who owns the right to profit from the value of the porous spaces within subsurface rock formations.

A Texas Lien is Invalid if the Mineral Owner is Not Yet Obligated to Pay

Energy & the Law

Co-author Stephanie Snyder-Zuasnabar*. A subcontractor’s mineral lien in Texas is invalid when, at the time the mineral owner receives notice of the lien affidavit, the mineral owner is not yet obligated to pay the contract price to its contractor. So says Pearl Resources Operating Co., LLC v.

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Stray Cows and Oilfield Operations Do Not Play Well Together

Energy & the Law

Foote and Cypert v. Texcel Exploration and Decker determined that cattle loitering uninvited around a well and tank battery are trespassers, not licensees. How it happened. Foote arranged with Yates to graze 650 head of cattle on Yates’ pasture and paid Cypert to take care of them.

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Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Postproduction Cost Decision

Energy & the Law

It was jurisprudential Groundhog Day as the Supreme Court of Texas handed down Nettye Engler Energy v. Bluestone Natural Resources , another in a series of postproduction cost disputes, only two days after Puxsutawney Phil peeked out of his cozy burrow to pronounce six more weeks of winter.

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Texas Court Decides What “Likewise” Means in a Conveyance

Energy & the Law

Consider the power of a single word over the fortunes of the parties to a property deed. Such was the court’s analysis in Barrow Shaver Resources, LLC, et al v. NETX Acquisitions, LLC, et al.

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What’s Up With Those West Texas Earthquakes?

Energy & the Law

If you dispose of produced water you are no-doubt aware of the intensive earthquakes being observed across the Midland and Delaware Basins.

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Louisiana Pipeline Intrusion Case Remanded to Determine a Remedy

Energy & the Law

The baseball season might be in jeopardy, but litigants are swinging for the fences. In Mary v. QEP Energy, the parties entered into a Pipelins Servitude Agreement over Ms. Mary’s 160 acres. One of QEP’s pipelines extended beyond the servitude by 31 feet and another by 15 feet.

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Is the Oil and Gas Industry Worth Defending?

Energy & the Law

Of course it is. Apologies for the clickbait.) If further reading would damage you, I recommend a subscription to the Guardian. Otherwise, consider these points of view when conversing with those in need of enlightenment. Counter-arguments abound, but they are not the purpose of this post.

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2021’s Bad Guys in Energy

Energy & the Law

Like wild mushrooms after a warm summer rain, and undaunted by the COVIDs, the fraudsters, the grifters, and the “the spawn of the Devil’s own strumpet”* were prolific before meeting the wrath of the courts and the regulators in 2021.

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Buried Pipeline Ruling Favors Lessee

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. In Texas, what happens to an obligation to bury pipelines when, after creation of the obligation, the surface and minerals are severed? Henry v. Smith explains. Henry et al own the surface estate of the Camp Creek Ranch, a 15,000-acre tract in Archer County.

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Texas Supreme Court to Review the Lessee’s Covenant to Protect Against Drainage

Energy & the Law

Co-author Brittany Blakey. First, a word for you scriveners: Preserve your reputation and the honor of your law school writing instructor by preparing clear and understandable contracts.

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